Steps to Developing Your Canvas Course

Step 1:

Click on "settings" on left of screen; click on "navigation" tab; drag items from the top that you do not plan to have students use to the bottom;

Click back to home and all items you pulled down to the bottom will be greyed out.

Step 2:

Click on "change home page layout"; from drop down menu select "a page I’ll design myself"; click "update layout" button. On the right side of screen click the "edit this page" button. You can now add text, images, links to files, ....

Definitely include a welcome message on the home page you’re creating. Make sure the message includes something like: "to get started, click on the 'Modules' link to the left. That is the starting point for all coursework throughout the semester". Everyone is new to canvas. Students will appreciate the prompt regarding how to get started.

If you have some key message(s) you want to get out to students it would be good to include the information right on the home page. For example, what are your expectations with regard to communication, online engagement, ....

Step 3:

Click on "modules"; Click on blue "create a module" button; give the module a name (e.g. getting started); click blue "add module" button. The module name is the heading for a section.

Now you will create links to resources within this section. In a getting started section you might have these items:

Course syllabus
Course calendar
Add-Drop Information

To create links for students to access these items, click on the down arrow across from the module name; click "add content"; from the drop down menu select the content type. For syllabus it would be "file". select from the box below the drop down [new file]; now navigate to the syllabus on your computer and upload/add the syllabus to the module.

Repeat this process for every item you want to have listed under your "getting started" module.

The next module you might consider having is an "Important Resources" module. In this section you could have:

Link to a document (canvas page) with links to all asynchronous course lecture videos
Link to a document canvas page) with links to all readings for the semester
Link to a canvas page that contains exam preparation advice/information
Project Information - If you have a major assignment/project in the course, having the details in this module makes it easy for students to locate the information whenever needed.

Once you create the Important resources module, then create the links to the items you.

In the case of creating a canvas page, click on the down arrow across from the module name; click "add content"; from the drop down menu select the content type. For a page it would be "content page". select from the box below the drop down [new page]; give the page a name (e.g. lecture videos); click "add item". Click on the item you just created and you will be taken to the pages portion of canvas where you can click on "edit this page" button and create the document you need.

The next set of modules are your weekly modules. Have one module for each week of the semester.

The items under weekly modules are critically important for keeping students organized and on track. Under each week’s module provide information on exactly what they need to be doing that week. Whenever possible be consistent with what you list under each week so it’s a familiar pattern for the students. Examples of pages within a week’s module:

Week 1 Reading
Week 1 Assignments/Homework
Week 1 Self Assessment

Week 2 Reading (give reading assignment explanation and link to the document/web site)
Week 2 Assignments/Homework (provide explanations here - and links to materials if needed)
Week 2 Self Assessment (can be a Canvas practice quiz online, set of items in a word document, link to a puzzle to solve, ....)
Week 2 Discussion Board Posting (explain what students need to do)
Week 2 Quiz

In the case of a quiz (or exam), click on the down arrow across from the module name (e.g. Week 2); click "add content"; from the drop down menu select the content type. For a quiz or exam it would be "quiz". Select from the box below the drop down [new quiz]; give the quiz a name (e.g. quiz 1); click "add item". Click on the quiz item you just created on the modules page and you will be taken to the quizzes portion of canvas where you can click on the "edit" button and create the quiz you need.

Step 4:

Click on "Assignments" in the canvas navigation list on the left of your page. For each graded item in the course you will need to have it listed under assignments. Note: If you created a quiz for example while building out your modules page you will see it is already listed here. To get remaining items listed on this page, click "add assignments" link on the right of the page; Give the item a name (e.g. article critique); set a due date; and if points are associated with this item put in the points.

Now click the more options button, then click "show advanced options". Here is where you can access more detailed options. Under submission type you leave it no submission if this is a graded item but students are not submitting anything. For example you might have a component of their grade associated with discussion/participation. If students will be submitting a paper, for submission type select online. An expanded set of options now appears. Here is where you would check "allow file uploads" and "enable turnitin submission" if you want the work run through the turnitin plagiarism resource. Note, If the grading type is not "points" you can change it here. Now click update assignment.

Step 5 - Setting up general Q & A discussion board

Click on discussions in the left navigation panel; click the blue "+ discussions" button. Give the discussion board a title and description; click "allow threaded replies"; then click save. When you click back on discussions you will see it listed under the category Discussions. Above that you will see a category called Pinned discussions. Moving this to pinned discussions will keep it on top - a good idea for easy access.

Step 5 - Setting up groups

To set up groups within your course click on "people"; then click "view user groups"; click "make a new set of groups"; give the collection of groups a name (e.g. assignment groups) and select how you want the groups formed; click create category.

Now to create the groups within this category click on the + sign across from the category name; give the group a name; click update. Repeat for however many groups you need. If you selected "manual" as the way to form the groups then drag student names from right side over into the group they need to be in.

At this point you have now created the equivalent of a private space for each group and when you click on the group name you’ll see the navigation panel on the left change to reflect the canvas features available to the group which includes discussions. However these discussion are seen only by group members.

To get back to the course and out of the group’s space, click on the course name in the bread crumb trail at the top of the screen.

Students access their group space from the main heading, where it states Courses. Just to the right of that it would show Groups - once you have the groups created and students assigned to groups.

Step 6:

Click on "Blackboard Collaborate" in the left navigation panel. Click on the "create session" tab. Suggestions for each step listed:

Step 1: Make session title descriptive of session rather than a generic "meeting #3"; set early session entry at 15 minutes (rarely need longer than that)

Step 2: Do not make everyone a moderator. That role best handled by instructor. Consider unchecking "participants have full permission". Then when you get into blackboard give participants the permissions you want them to have - definitely audio and chat so they can ask questions. Beyond that it’s a matter of what they might need during a particular session. For example if you will be breaking them up into groups during the session you might want to give them access to the whiteboard so they can compile and edit group information.

Step 3: change "max simultaneous talkers to 1" and "max cameras to 1". Video slows things down.

Click Create session. A link to the session can now be found under the sessions tab. When you click on that link you will be asked to download the launcher. This takes a bit a minute or two. Follow directions on the screen. Depending on your connection speed each step may take a bit of time.

Once inside blackboard, across from the word "Participants" on the left side of the screen use the drop-down list to identify what permissions all participants with have - at least audio and chat.

The easiest way to proceed at this point is to share your computer screen and use the software you are most familiar with to display information during your synchronous class meeting. E.g. powerpoint, word, ..... To share your screen click on the middle icon at the top of the whiteboard. In the dialog box that comes up click on "share desktop" then click the share button on the bottom right.
You’re ready to start recording the session. Click on the start button in the recording reminder box that came up right when you entered blackboard.

It is advisable to use a microphone and headphones during the session for clarity on both ends. At the very start of the session you might want to click on the video button in the blackboard panel to greet students, then turn the video off.

When you want to speak click on the talk button. When you want to give the microphone to a student (works best to have them use the hand button when they need to ask for the mike for a question) click on the talk button and the student can now click their talk button and use the microphone. Before you give the microphone away it’s a good idea to remind them to click again on their talk button to give the microphone back to you - particularly early in the course when everything is new to the students.

It is a good idea to plan breaks for questions as it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of questions coming in via chat while you are discussing course content. At the break, check chat then invite anyone with a question to click their hand icon and you can pass the microphone to them.

One last note. Set up a practice session before the semester begins and ask one of the staff members in ecampus to join you in that session so you can practice - particularly if this is your first time trying blackboard.